Nintendo’s corporate identity has long been tied up in its consoles and handheld devices. Nevertheless, recent developments—most notably the colossal success of mobile game Pokémon Go—suggest that the company might be willing to embrace other platforms and technological infrastructures. It’s clear, however, that it hasn’t yet given up on more traditional consoles—and that it doesn’t think its longtime fans have either.
On Thursday, Nintendo announced via Twitter that it will release a new miniature version of the original classic Nintendo entertainment system. Small enough to be held in a single hand, the system comes preloaded with 30 games. According to reports elaborating on the announcement, it’s designed to connect with modern high-definition televisions via HDMI cables. The full system will sell for just under $60 and will be available for sale on Nov. 11.
As PC World notes in an article on the news, this device won’t be entirely revelatory to gamers involved in the emulation scene. Describing the ease of simulating old games on newer computers, PC World’s Ian Paul writes, “Within half an hour, you can go from zero to a full NES gaming setup on a Raspberry Pi.” Likewise, the Verge writes that similar systems are already broadly available online for fans of vintage gaming. What’s more, classic games have long been available for purchase on Nintendo’s newer systems.
To understand what Nintendo’s up to here, though, you don’t have to look much further than that mid-November release date. This is an item designed to be unboxed and put to work immediately on Christmas morning, a toy for millennial parents desperate to remember when the holidays were joyful for them too. In that light all this new device has to be is a legal, plug-and-play option that checks off some nostalgic boxes.
That said, the mini-NES isn’t going to please everyone. The full list of games includes a few classics (Super Mario Bros. and Zelda II: The Adventures of Link are standouts) as well as some obligatory oddities (the bizarre Super Mario Bros. 2, for example). But many of the classic titles will likely do little more than remind casual gamers how frustrating old-school gaming could be. If you can cruise through Castlevania II or the original Ninja Gaiden, you’re far more skilled than I, at least, have ever been.
Most disappointing of all, though? The system apparently won’t ship with Duck Hunt, the one classic game that still feels like it would be worth crowding around the family television for.